Watch Out for Wires
Planting, landscaping and remodeling projects are common in the Hill Country. If you’re involved in a project and plan to use heavy equipment outdoors, remember that PEC’s overhead electric lines carry deadly amounts of electricity and are not insulated.
The first step to heavy-equipment safety is to be aware of PEC lines on and around your job site. Plan carefully so you can avoid the overhead electric lines. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require all parts of heavy equipment to be at least 10 feet away from electric lines rated at 50 kilovolts (kv) or less. Some of our lines carry much more than 50 kv. For your safety, call us if you’re unsure about the voltage on a line. We’ll work with you to make your job site is as safe as possible.
We cannot emphasize enough that heavy equipment and power lines are a killer combination. Raised dump truck beds, backhoe boom arms and front-end loader scoops can reach energized power lines and conduct electricity. Because power lines are not insulated, the contact can cause serious injury and even electrocution.
Heavy-equipment accidents can also damage other utility lines, such as those used for telephone and cable service. When large equipment gets tangled in overhead power lines, the equipment can pull down poles. Downed poles increase the original damage and add to the threat of danger to equipment operators and others nearby. So please be safe, and call us if you need more information.
It's the Law
- If you plan to hire or use rented heavy equipment that is capable of vertical motion within 10 feet of electric lines, state law requires that you call PEC at least 48 hours in advance. PEC will show you how to avoid contact with power lines.
- When planning to dig 16 inches or deeper, state law requires that you call 811 or sign in to the Texas811 Portal and submit your location at least 48 hours in advance to locate underground electric lines.
- If these laws are not followed, you may be fined, sentenced to jail for up to one year or both.
- You are liable for damages to PEC facilities and all the liability the Cooperative incurs as a result of any contact.